Posts Tagged ‘Mnemosyne’

Does memrise help you remember stuff?

Monday, August 29th, 2016

I use a couple of memorization tools…. anymemo, memrise, mnemosyne. They all have their strengths and weaknesses. In this post, I would like to divulge my opinion on memrise.

Overall, I have been using memrise for app. 553 days. The app encourages streaks – continous days of usage. For one set of vocabulary, I’m on my 333rd consecutive day – before that, the website was down so I lost my previous 200 or so day streak.

By the way, no one at memrise has ever apologized for that one day of downtime nor was there ever any explanation posted on the webiste. Shame, shame….

Memrise comes in two options: You can either login to the website memrise.com and learn facts and vocabulary there or you can install the memrise app.

Please keep in mind that I’m using memrise to learn Mandarin Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Hebrew. The relevance will be clear after the next paragraph…

The algorithm behind either version is the same – the main difference is the input and its configuration. On the website, you can choose to type vocabulary by using your physical keyboard whereas in the app, memrise provides an onscreen keyboard. Why does that make a difference?

On my pc/laptop, I have succesfully configured Mandarin and Japanese input for which I can use the latin alphabet as a basis. To type 漢字 in Japanese, I switch to the Japanese input and type “kanji” (Enter). The same principle works for Mandarin.

Korean on the other hand uses a totally different keyboard and so far I have not found a latin alphabet-bases input configuration. A colleague uses a self-made paper layout on top of his physical keyboard. Until I have to get really close and intimate with Korean, I will remain on the current low-key configuration, thank you.

As for Hebrew which is a right-to-left language (totally freaks me out in vocabulary lists in Excel), I don’t know. I’m just learning some basic words and phrases for the time being, so I have not looked into any input methods on my pc/laptop.

The exercises on memrise come in several patterns, but this can widely differ from course by course, which are contributed by memrise members. Naturally, the quality of the courses can also differ…

Most courses come with cards in English–><foreign_language> and the opposite (<foreign_language>->English). The “better” courses provided audio files for the <foreign_language> cards which can be really helpful for any foreign language, especially tonal languagues.

The “written” cards come in the following variety: Typing, recognizing and selecting. All in all, a good variety.

Before a card is marked as learned, you have to repeat it appr. six or seven times in learning mode. Afterwards it is moved to the “learned” heap and reappears according to a long-time memorization algorithm, similar to supermemo, anymemo, mnemosye and so on.

The downsides of memrise (the app, not the website) is the development. I was invited to participate as beta tester for memrise but after watching the google+ group for a couple of weeks, I decided to leave the group and not update memrise if I can avoid it.

The guys behind memrise basically make the same mistake all developers seem to make…. features over fixes and implemenation of features that do not make sense. I can understand the rationale behind this, but first of all I want a working app not new features all the time.

Also, there is considerable lack of communication about development and features. I have not seen a properly maintained list of bugs (open, in work, fixes). Frankly, the whole process of reporting bugs until a fix is implemented seems not very mature. A lot of users in the groups simply state “it’s not working pls fix it”. The more communicative users at least state their type of mobile phone, what version of ios or android and how to recreate the bug.

If you just are looking for a different way to learn vocabulary, check out memrise – at least I think it’s a good way to learn.

Almost one grand of mnemosyne entries, yay…

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

Wow, just look at that 4-digit number in the lower right corner (not marked in red, so you have to look harder ^_^)

I wonder if mnemosyne will crash if I add another entry? Or maybe the universe will collapse.

Anyway, I just got started on mnemosyne about four years ago and have since added 10⁵-1 entries, ranging from vocabulary in Japanese, Chinese, Italian, keywords for the  LPIC tests and more. Only a few were imported from lists, all others were inputted by hand.

This software really has helped me a lot memorizing all that vocabulary and I can only recommend it. Sometimes it’s hard to do these exercises every day but it’s definitely worth it.

HSK level woes

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

Another day, another failure…
In my quest to conquer another language I started learning Mandarin two years ago. I’ve taken an introductory course two years ago and am working on a second textbook which will soon be finished. So it was time to find a new textbook and I’ve decided on a textbook based on the HSK curriculum – but the research prior to acquiring the textbook was not sufficient.

What happened?

Taking a quick look at HSK in wikipedia I grabbed the info that there was a Elementary level. Thinking this level might suit me fine I ran off to a bookshop to order a textbook because I couldn’t find anything appropriate on Amazon. They ordered the book for me and I picked it up this weekend. By the way, between ordering the book and handing it over to me, the price was raised 5%. I think I will call them about this… Anyway, thumbing through the book I felt somewhat intimidated – the content looked quite tough. Many unknown words, long sentences – this is Elementary? I thought, suited for beginners (association: elementary school)

Some more googling revealed the following: HSK is divided into four levels: Basic, Elementary, Intermediate and Advanced where as Elementary and Intermediate are grouped into one. Unfortunately, the lowest level is not Elementary but Basic.

Looks like I’ll have to get a different book…

For the time being, from this page you can download vocabulary for the different levels in different formats, even pre-formatted for Mnemosyne, my favourite educational vocabulary tool:

http://hskflashcards.com/download.php

cheers

m.